World Coins

Primitive money collectors talk tooth money

Primitive tooth money once part of the Dr. Radford Stearns Collection will be on display April 16 during the International Primitive Money Society's meeting held in conjunction with the Chicago International Coin Fair.

Original images courtesy of International Primitive Money Society.

Members of the International Primitive Money Society will be talking tooth money when it meets April 16 in conjunction with the Chicago International Coin Fair.

The 4 p.m. Central Time program will be held at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in the Chicago suburb of Rosemont.

"Tooth Money from the Radford Stearns Collection" will be presented by primitive money specialists and collectors Robert Leonard Jr. and William Burd.

The late Stearns was an Atlanta dentist who, appropriately, specialized in collecting tooth money. Stearns' collection of primitive money of all types has been sold. His entire assemblage of tooth money, however, will be on display during the presentation, and this may be the last chance for those interested to see it.

At 4 p.m. April 30, at another IPMS meeting, held in conjunction with the Central States Numismatic Society Convention at the Renaissance Schaumburg Convention Center in Illinois, James Zylstra  will present "A Missionary Who Served in Nigeria (1974-78) Relates Primitive Money Stories."

From 1974 to 1978, Zylstra served as a missionary in a remote region of Nigeria. The government had declared primitive money illegal in 1948 and nearly all had disappeared. However, vestiges of primitive money were available during his stay. He was also able to visit artisans creating brass objects through the lost wax method.

For more information on IPMS, contact the society's president, Carl Wolf, by mail at International Primitive Money Society, 1055 W. Bryn Mawr Ave., #F-335 Chicago, IL 60660; by telephone at work at 773-878-8979 or at his cell phone number, 773-771-1311; or email Wolf at

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